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Everything posted by sheik

  1. Depends on the breed! I'm building a fence at the moment and have quite a small sablepoot bantam - I roughly measured her and decided a fence post gap of 9cm would stop her getting through - so she's probably about 10cm wide. Our silkie bantam is about twize the size of her in mass though, not sure about width . /\dam
  2. Speckledys lay dark(ish) brown, lightly speckled eggs - at least Flumpy did! Silkies lay cream eggs, almost white. /\dam
  3. Aha, another reason for using straw - it won't fall out of the hole /\dam
  4. We use straw (don't use hay, it's dangerous to the chickens). It's relatively cheap, good for compost, means we don't need to store any aubiose (we just buy a bale and empty the whole lot into the run), very light to move around and has a certain traditional charm . Also, we like seeing our broody silkie pick up pieces of straw and put them on her back. We tried shredded paper but it was too much hassle to make (especially as our shredder is rubbish). /\dam
  5. I'll do the same for your pics . But, please don't post on here if you work it out, I prefer to keep that semi-confidential, especially as I am active on the St Neots website . /\dam
  6. Glad you liked the pics. I'm supposed to be working but got distracted by the Omlet forums . If you are thinking of getting a speckledy, please see this thread I started about ours: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=44880 I only mention it as it seems to be a rare problem, but particular to this breed. I should add that our speckledy is our most curious chicken, and follows us all round the garden. So even though she doesn't lay, she's still a much loved pet! /\dam
  7. Related thread: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=44880 /\dam
  8. This thread was inspired by JennyHenny's "Who has the smallest garden" thread. It is for pictures showing how your garden has changed since you got your chickens. I'm not necessarily talking about destruction, but the changes you've made since your flock arrived. Here's mine: Not very interesting when we moved in... Added a patio, slate and an eglu! Decided we needed a walk in run, so wanted to make more room... Walk in run gets added, as well as a compost bin for chicken poo! (made using the recycled planks of the old fence I should add!) Also note the area in front of the run is a Chicken Adventure Playground - their territory is expanding! After a series of unfortunate vegetable raids, my wife demands a greenhouse gets added. These chickens are costing me a fortune! More seriously, we didn't really care about our garden when we first moved in, but our chickens have made a huge difference. We couldn't actually imagine having a garden without them scratching about in it now. So a big thanks to Omlet, without whom we'd never have even thought of the idea. So, how have your chickens dramatically altered the landscape with their telepathic powers of garden domination?! /\dam
  9. We have two hybrids, one silkie and one (tiny) sablepoot bantam. They all get on wonderfully and are a very happy flock. Our white silkie is apparently typical for the breed, and her quirky personality provides us with lots of entertainment. Meet Pootle! For example, when she is broody, she will occasionally go completely manic, dashing off to dustbathe, then leaping out to flap her wings, eat food, complain to the other chickens and then return to the nest, all within the space of a few minutes! Most of the time she is very docile, and she was the first of my flock to integrate and protect our newest addition. You can read that epic story here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=31574 She is also completely dopey, not helped by her hair which makes her rather u"Ooops, word censored!"servant. It's hard work giving her mealworms or grapes, as she is blithely unaware of them even if thrown just past her head - she only realises she's missed out when a hybrid whips past her like a starving raptor. So, if you are soft, you need to go to a bit more effort distributing treats in an equitable fashion . Note that silkies have slightly different physiology to other chickens. Many of their feathers are not technically feathers, they are hair. This means they are less water resistant and harder for them to clean themselves. White silkies will get dirty, so you may have to bath them! Their skin is jet black underneath their hair/ feathers, which means they need mineral supplements (magnesium I think) in their water once per month (we use Battles poultry tonic, which is good for all our other chickens too) Not really relevant, this photo just makes me smile! In terms of weight and "poo" production (sorry, but that is a valid concern!) I class my two hybrids as "normal", our silkie as "half" a chicken and our sablepoot bantam as a "quarter" size. For example, our sablepoot is just over a pound in weight, and our fat speckledly hen is about five pounds. We've never weighed our silkie but she feels about two pounds. These ratios are also true of the eggs that are laid - but sadly is *not* the same for the noise they can make. Our silkie squawks with the best of them when it comes to announcing she has laid... Some photos that show size comparisons: Bear in mind silkies are just bundles of fluff, so they are actually smaller than they look. Two silkies here, the lavender one turned out to be a rooster so we had to rehome him . The main breed characteristic is that they go broody at the drop of a hat. Expect 2-3 weeks of broodiness every few months. We used to dunk her in cold water to snap her out of it but this didn't seem to have any notable effects and I've heard a few people debunking that theory as a myth. So, nowadays, we just let her get on with it, as she does seem to love zoning out on the nest bless her. Here you can see a smaller bantam can be completely covered by a broody silkie! Hope that is helpful information, it should be pretty obvious that we are very fond of our silkie! /\dam
  10. Nice to see some fellow St Neotians on here. There are various chicken keeping threads on our town website. We've bought feed from Ibbets in Great Paxton but use Thorne's now as our chickens weren't keen on it. We got our chickens from Thorne's, it's about a 20 minute drive from town : http://www.thornespoultrycentre.co.uk/ We also use Frontier Pet Supplies on the A1 to get aubiose for their run (horse bedding). It's on the way to Thorne's so we tend to do both in a single trip (with an occasional stop off at the Chinese supermarket also on that stretch of the A1 for roast duck ). /\dam
  11. We pay around £10 for organic feed from Thorne's. I think it is made by "Marriages". A bit pricier than others we've tried, but the only one our girls seem to actually enjoy, rather than just grudgingly eating it because they're hungry! I should add, one sack lasts us ages, so it doesn't actually work out as much extra per week. /\dam
  12. I can understand felt roofing being risky on the coop, but surely on the walk in run roof that would be too far away to be cause for concern? How far can redmite travel to get to the chickens? /\dam
  13. Sounds just like a soft shelled egg to me too. Be on the look out and once she lays it she should be right as rain within an hour or so. Until then, all you can do (that I know of) is make sure she is in the shade, near some water in case she needs it. It's horrible to see for the first time - we did as you did and sought advice from this forum. Best of luck, /\dam
  14. Why not do an experiment? Ask the lodger to leave them in their run until noon before letting them out. Give that a go for a few weeks and count up the eggs . Our chickens freerange from noon till approx 5pm in the summer. Our reasoning is that it ensures they will eat their balanced feed during the morning. /\dam
  15. Drinking more than usual isn't necessarily anything to be worried about. Also, you can't monitor them all day so have no real way of telling if she is definitely drinking more than her fair share. If you are seeing soft shelled eggs, than I'd expect you to see a poorly looking hen on that day. I'd be keeping as close an eye on her as possible , just in case she worsens and you need a vet. Good luck! /\dam
  16. We tried two types of pellets and our fussy chickens only ever picked at them. We didn't want to feed them layers mash all year round, so tried them on some organic pellets and they seem to like those better. The brand we get has a smaller size of pellet than any other feed we've seen, which might have had something to do with it? /\dam
  17. How long has she been like that? Sometimes if they are going to lay a "softie" they can be out of sorts for an hour or two, but after they have laid it they return back to normal within another hour. If she's like it tomorrow I would personally get her to a vet as quickly as possible. /\dam
  18. Thanks for the replies, I agree we should use this thread to record this strange phenomenon of lazy chickens who won't lay! Just an update, we took Flumpy to the vet just for our peace of mind. He gave her the once over, weighed her (2.3 kilos the little porker!), checked internally for imminent eggs (there weren't any!) and gave her a glowing bill of clean health, which we were very pleased about (especially as he's an experienced chicken vet and in fact keeps them himself). He confirmed it is very unusual for her not to be laying for so long, and pretty much admitted he was baffled. He suggested we could try daylight therapy to get her laying again (lock her away in the dark early, and then gradually give her more daylight each day) but we're not going to do that (sounds too much hassle, for us and Flumpy). Just before we left he decided to try her on a five day course of Baytril (the miraculous all en-compassing chicken medicine!) just in case she has an intestinal problem. He didn't seem convinced, and neither are we quite honestly, but we paid our £20 and she is on day three of it now. At least this time it was given to us in liquid format, so we can just soak it into bread. Last time we had it in tablets and had a nightmare getting poor Elliot to eat them! If we ever get another Flumpy egg I will update this thread . /\dam
  19. I was quite surprised by this comment, as I went to Thorne's a few years ago when I knew nothing about chickens and they were not negative in the slightest about my Eglu (in fact they told me many of their customers had eglus). Last year I did ask them if I could fit a Buff Orpington in along with my existing flock and they advised against it - but I received the same advice on here. Anyway, I asked the owner, and was told: "We may say to people not to get the eglu if they want bigger birds or more than 3. We thoroughly endorse the Cube for larger birds and flocks." Also, just a matter of record, Thorne's is not a distributor for Forsham (and in fact Forsham would probably not be best pleased if such a claim were made). Thorne's do sell two types of Forsham arks, which is two products out of about one hundred. In the interests of full disclosure, I have recently created the Thorne's website, but other than that have no business interest with them (I've been a happy customer of theirs for two years though). Hope that helps clear up any confusion, /\dam
  20. Hmmm... my chickens are terrified of even the sight of my guitar, and also seem to hate my playing - not good for the ego! /\dam
  21. Thanks Florence, maybe it is just a breed characteristic. Probably still uncommon though or everyone on here would know about it. /\dam
  22. Hi Egluntine, We pick her up regularly and haven't noticed anything amiss. We wormed them all with flubenvet(?) a few months ago (partly because we were worried about Flumpy not laying), and they get those verminex(?) pellets too (which I don't rate by the way, and neither do our chickens). I might phone a vet that knows about chickens and see if they recommend bringing her in. /\dam

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